Former NBA player Joe Barry Carroll and a friend are suing an Atlanta restaurant, claiming they were kicked out because they refused to give up their seats to two white women.
The Daily Mail reports that Carroll and Joseph Shaw were sitting at the bar at The Tavern at Phipps one night in 2006 when the bartender asked them to give their seats to two women. It seems the bar has a long-standing policy of asking men to move when the bar gets crowded and there are no seats for the ladies. The bartender offered them free drinks to move, which is part of the policy.
Carroll and Shaw refused, and eventually an off-duty Atlanta cop who worked as a security guard escorted the men out.
They are claiming racial discrimination. In opening statements on Monday, their lawyer Jeffrey Bramlett told the jury, "You're probably thinking: Two black gentlemen go to a bar - this is a joke but it's no joke. The evidence will show a serious civil rights violation."
Bramlett said his clients were "embarrassed and humiliated. And part of the reason it was painful is they had an unobstructed view of seats where white patrons were seated."
Bramlett said he will prove that the restaurant has a history of discrimination, not wanting "black thugs" to take over the place.
But restaurant attorney David Long-Daniels said that is a bunch of nonsense. He said thousands of men, some of them black, have complied with the "good manners" policy. One of them was a former NBA star named Michael Jordan.
"Chivalry is not dead," Long-Daniels said. "And it's not a civil rights violation to give up your seat to a woman."
He added, "Everything in life is not about race and the evidence will show this has nothing to do with race. The evidence will show it's more to do about personality and ego. And in the end, it's all about good manners."
Carroll was the first overall pick in the 1980 NBA draft but he never lived up to expectations, playing ten years in the league for five teams.